Summary: Parents must take the wheel and steer their families in the right direction
Life In The Fast Lane
Parenting: Who’s In The Driver’s Seat?
Woodlawn Baptist Church
October 17, 2004
Since today is Sunday School Teacher appreciation day, I wanted to take a minute to thank our teachers for their labor and faithfulness to the Lord in their classes. I realize that as I give these gifts that I cannot possibly express how grateful we are as a church that you do what you do. We are living in perilous times according to the Scriptures. This is a day when families need as much help as they can get in training up their children in the ways of the Lord, so today as we consider the subject of Parenting, I know that every parent in this room is thankful for the godly teachers the Lord has blessed our church with.
Every conscientious parent knows how hard it is to exercise authority over his children. The delicate balance of being tough and yet tender is not easy to maintain. Many parents intensify a rebellious spirit by being dictatorial and harsh. Others can yield when their authority is tested. When a strong-willed child resists, the pressure to give in for the sake of peace and harmony can become overpowering. I am reminded of the mother who wanted to have the last word but couldn’t handle the hassle that resulted whenever she said “no” to her young son. After an especially trying day, she finally flung up her hands and shouted, “All right Billy! Do whatever you want! No let me see you disobey that!”
There’s a lot of pressure that comes with raising children today. A group of expectant fathers were in a waiting room, while their wives were in the process of delivering babies. A nurse came in and announced to one man that his wife had just given birth to twins. “That’s quite a coincidence” he responded. “I play for the Minnesota Twins!” A few minutes later another nurse came in and announced to another man that he was the father of triplets. “That’s amazing!” he exclaimed. “I work for the 3M company.” At that point, a third man slipped off his chair and laid down on the floor. Somebody asked him if he was feeling ill. “No,” he responded, “I happened to work for the 7-Up company.”
All kidding aside, you don’t have to look far to realize that parents are under tremendous pressure today as they raise their children, but according to the Scriptures, no matter what the times or pressures are, parenting is one of the greatest privileges any parent will ever experience in this life. Read with me what the psalmist said in Psalm 127:3-5.
“Lo, children are an heritage of the Lord: and the fruit of the womb is his reward. As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth. Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them: they shall not be ashamed, but they shall speak with the enemies in the gate.”
I want to draw your attention to just a couple of things from these verses. First, “children are an heritage of the Lord.” The word heritage carries the meaning of an inheritance, or a gift. In other words, “children are a gift from the Lord.” I know there are days when they don’t seem like gifts, but that’s what the Bible says. Your kids are gifts from God to you. The second thing I want you to notice there is that children are and should be a great source of happiness or satisfaction in your life. They are not nuisances or an inconvenience; they are not in the way. When God gave you children, He gave them especially to you, for you. So before you hear anything else I want to say to you this morning, you need to get fixed firmly in your minds that no matter how great the pressures might be, no matter how much money they cost you, no matter how much of your time they take up or how they get in the way of your doing what you want with your time, those kids have been placed in your possession by Almighty God as a gift to you.
You Got Me Under Pressure
Before we had kids, Kathy and I talked about whether we wanted to have any. With all the wickedness in the world and things that kids have to face today, we just weren’t sure we wanted to put anyone through it, but then we just couldn’t imagine going through life without the pleasures they were sure to bring. As I thought about the pressures today’s parents face, four in particular came to mind.
You can’t talk about the pressures of raising children today without talking about finances. Clothes, food, school supplies, sports, birthdays, Christmas, $5 here and $10 there; it all adds up. According to one study I read this week, the average family spends close to $500 per child, per month. I didn’t put the pencil to it for my home, but that’s probably pretty accurate. Doctor bills, dentist bills and on and on it goes. One week it was elementary school pictures, the next week it was Jr. High school pictures. Then it was Cross Country pictures and church directory pictures. Two t-shirts for one school. A t-shirt for B-Mac. A t-shirt for the Whales hall at B-Mac. A band t-shirt, an athletics t-shirt, and the church t-shirts. I heard someone the other day complaining about $2,000 braces. That’s a bargain – we paid close to six.